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5 Love Lessons We Learned From Gone Girl

Because we don't want to end up like Nick and Amy Dunne.

Twisted and utterly troubling, Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel-turned big screen suspense drama, Gone Girl, is at the core a story about a 5-year marriage on the rocks. When Amy Elliot Dunne disappears on the morning of her 5th wedding anniversary, her presumed murder is expediently blamed on her husband, Nick Dunne. Facts are backed up by a diary she left behind that reveals Nick has changed from the perfect partner to someone ungrateful, dishonest, and capable of inflicting physical harm.

But is Amy telling the truth? Written in a gripping he-said-she-said narrative, Gone Girl allows both characters to shed light on their relationship, turning the tale into a dark, wicked plot that unravels disturbing truths surrounding Nick and Amy’s marriage.

More than a psychological thriller, Gone Girl offers practical advice for couples who are encountering road blocks in their relationship. We used Flynn’s novel as a precautionary tale, and picked out quotes that might come in handy during tight situations with your significant other.

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Read on.

1. Nick: “Amy, I don’t get why I need to prove my love to you by remembering the exact same things you do, the exact same way you do. It doesn’t mean I don’t love our life together.”

The Situation: You get upset because he failed to throw the surprise birthday party you would have arranged for him, or you feel disappointed because he did not drop everything to be by your side.

The Advice: Finding fault in your man for not reciprocating the same amount of time and effort you invest in your relationship is unfair. Affection is subjective, and we all have different ideas about expressing love. Your man failing to do what you feel is an ultimate act of love does not necessarily mean he cares for you any less. He may forget your anniversary, but he always has dinner prepared for you after a stressful day. Think about it: which one would you pick?

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2. Amy: “Marriage is compromise and hard work, and then more hard work and communication and compromise. And then work. Abandon all hope, ye who enter.”

The Situation: You become too familiar with each other’s differences on your second or third year together. His cute, little quirks turn into annoying habits that you eventually have to bear.

The Advice: There’s no other way to reconcile differences than to discuss them with your significant other. Love takes a lot of hard work. If it’s really a commitment, you will fight for each other by communicating openly, and reaching a compromise.  

3. Nick: “I speak specifically of the Amy of today, who was only remotely like the woman I fell in love with. It had been an awful fairy-tale reverse transformation. Over just a few years, the old Amy, the girl of the big laugh and the easy ways, literally shed herself, a pile of skin and soul on the floor, and out stepped this new, brittle, bitter Amy. My wife was no longer my wife…”

The Situation: Your relationship is changed by life's difficulties. 

The Advice: Reminisce together. Communicate. Keep in mind the person you were at the beginning of the relationship, when there were less expectations and pressures. What did you love about each other then? You have to remember the emotions you felt and figure out how to bring them back—even if it means revisiting a familiar hangout or recreating your first date. 

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4. Amy: “Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.”

The Situation: You want to please your man. You always succumb to what you think will make him happy, even if it means compromising your own happiness. 

The Advice: If you keep on doing this, at one point you will blow up, demand for something in return, and throw hurtful words that could damage your relationship. Don’t pretend that it’s okay for your man to do things that hurt you. It won't become a full-blown fight if you don't let all the conflict pile up and share what you truly feel.

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5. Nick (after cheating on Amy):  “The idea [that] I could do something and it would make a woman happy, and it would be easy. Whatever you give me, I’ll like. I felt an overwhelming wave of relief. And then I knew I didn’t love Amy anymore.”

The Situation: We fall short of expectations and get frustrated at the thought of failing to be “enough” for our partners. Some resort to cheating to redeem themselves, or because it’s the easiest way to feel good again.

The Advice: Cheating is unacceptable. In Gone Girl, Nick’s sister, Go, tells him off: “You do realize that if you actually dated her (mistress) or saw her on a regular basis, lived with her, that she would find some fault in you? That she would find certain things in you that drove her crazy? That she’d make demands of you that you wouldn’t like?"

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Gone Girl fan? Which version did you like better—the book or the movie? Share your thoughts in the comments section!